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Home > General > Epsom Salt Baths for Fleas: Vet-Approved Effectiveness, Benefits, & FAQ

Epsom Salt Baths for Fleas: Vet-Approved Effectiveness, Benefits, & FAQ

Epsom Salt

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Fleas can be an absolute nightmare for our pets, but also to us as pet owners. They survive on our pets by drinking their blood, which causes scratching, skin rash, and nervous behavior. They are not always the easiest to eliminate, so many owners switch from one method to another, attempting to get rid of fleas once and for all, which is often part of the problem.

The most reliable and effective method of eliminating fleas continues to be using a product designed to target all stages of the flea life cycle, and this can sometimes involve using different treatments for your pets and your home.

While using Epsom salts to bathe your pet is a relatively safe and homeopathic approach to treating fleas, it is also not very effective. Let’s take a look at some uses for Epsom salts, and the alternatives for eliminating fleas.


What Is Epsom Salt and Is It Safe for Pets?

Epsom Bath Salt on Wooden Board
Image Credit: Nadia Yong, Shuttetstock

Epsom salt is a mineral compound known as bath salt or magnesium sulfate, which is very different from table salt. It dissolves in water, so it is often used in the form of soothing baths, reducing inflammation and helping to reduce infection in wounds.

So, can we soak our pets in Epsom salt? The answer is yes, but we need to be careful about how we use it, and stop them from wanting to drink the water with Epsom salts because it can cause problems with digestion.


Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths for Pets

Epsom salt baths can be a soothing method of treating painful muscles and joints, as well as calming itchy and irritated skin. The benefits of soaking our pets in Epsom salt are similar to its effect on humans; it reduces pain, itchiness, and stiffness.

The chemical structure of Epsom salts means that they can have a dehydrating effect on fleas, and can therefore kill fleas on your pets, but it is not a particularly reliable method, and will only kill adult fleas present at the time of bathing.

How to Make an Epsom Salt Bath

How you use Epsom salt is very important; just dusting your pet with Epsom salt will not help in fighting fleas, but mixing the salt with water and letting your pet soak in it can be a relief from itching and sore muscles.1 When you are buying Epsom salt, try to avoid fragranced and colored options because they are not healthy for your pet. When making an Epsom salt bath, mix half a cup of Epsom salt with a gallon of warm water. When you put your pet in the tub, ensure their whole body is soaked. Let them soak for 10 to 15 minutes, and when the soaking is over, you should use clean water to wash them to ensure no Epsom salt residue remains on their skin.

Our pets are known for licking themselves, so removing all the Epsom salt is essential to avoid problems that may arise if this compound is ingested.

Do not wash your pet for at least 1 week if you have applied a topical/spot-on flea treatment.

epsom magnesium salt to mix with water
Image Credit: Luis Echeverri Urrea, Shuttetstock

How Effective Are Epsom Salt Baths in Fighting Fleas?

It is thought that Epsom salt kills fleas by dehydration, which means that it dries them of all the bodily fluids that are needed for their survival. We wouldn’t suggest that the Epsom salt baths be the first option for fighting fleas, but they can be an addition to other, more reliable methods. Epsom salt baths are less effective than many commercial methods of fighting fleas, but they have their benefits, as mentioned above. With that said, there are a lot of other benefits of using Epsom salt baths besides killing fleas, so creating an Epsom salt bath is an excellent occasional option.

Epsom Salt
Image Credit: andreas160578, Pixabay

Commercial Methods of Flea Control

Here’s a list of a few commercial ways to fight fleas in your pets that might be more effective than an Epsom salt bath.

  • Oral medication
  • Spot-on treatments
  • Environmental treatments
  • Flea shampoos

There are options for dealing with fleas that employ more natural methods and materials. These can be useful against a very mild problem, but if you are dealing with severe or repeated infestations, these methods simply will not be effective, and you will find yourself battling these pesky creatures for months. We would always recommend talking to your veterinarian about the best options for getting rid of fleas on your pet and the environment, and following a strict protocol to reduce the risks of resistance developing.

Once you have followed a more intensive, chemical flea control protocol for at least three months, you may be able to switch to homeopathic methods if you prefer.

The most effective flea treatments are available only with a veterinary prescription. Here are some recommended flea & tick treatments for dogs and for cats. There are also some more natural product options available, as well as some homeopathic remedies to use in the home & environment.

poodle dog bathing
Image Credit: David Herraez Calzada, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

As pet owners, we must learn to care for our companions as best we can. So we always need to research different problems and their solutions. Even though Epsom salt baths are not an effective solution for flea control, they can help soothe the skin of our affected pets. They are also excellent for many other issues, such as skin rashes, allergies, and joint stiffness. However, as with any other home remedy, you should consult your veterinarian for the best solution for your particular problem.

Featured Image Credit: andreas160578, Pixabay

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